Friday, April 28, 2006
R U A 77 PERCENTER?
Last Tuesday, April 26, was a special day for women. However, it does not bring great joy for progress in equality. Rather it designates how far into 2006 an average woman must work to equal what a man earned in 2005.
For about a decade women have earned only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. It has been worse. The Sixties found them earning only 59 cents for every dollar paid to men. It was believed that they would catch up as more women entered the work force.
Evelyn Murphy, economist and former lite gov of Massachusetts has authored a book, Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men – and What to do About it.
Over the years reasons given for women being paid less, she reveals, are: they are not as educated; they dropped out of workforce when they had children; they didn’t need the money since they were married.
She claims the reasons are facetious. The difference in pay is not because women take time off to have and raise children because the wage gap figure measures only those women who work full time for a year.
Murphy thinks the argument that women earn less is because they take time off to start a family is “an incredibly lame argument”.
So is the idea that women are less educated or less trained since now there are training facilities that encourage women to participate.
Murphy argues that government cannot help. “We passed the laws that make discrimination illegal. I’ve realized that CEO’s have the power to eliminate this problem.”
She thinks they and other organizations/businesses need to check their payrolls for systematic underpayment of women in every job category.
Women must also get involved. One way they can check on where their salaries stand is to go to Murphy’s website and use the wage-gap calculator to find if there are differences in their area between what they and men are getting for doing the same job:
And women also must take a good look at themselves. Are they dressing for “fashion” [that is to please men] or for their profession and the situation they are working in?
Nearly every day on any news program, one can see a group of workers coming down the steps of their building. Men, wearing comfortable flat shoes, step confidently down to the sidewalk.
But always there is that one woman [or sometimes more than one] who goes to the side and clings to the railing as she tries to maintain balance in heels that one day will injure or even kill her. But, they will argue, heels make their legs look attractive.
Perhaps it is time women showed competency and confidence in the workplace and limit their sexy attire to bars, church functions and social occasions. Certainly so if they want to be taken seriously as professionals and paid as professionals.
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